Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Strategic Abandonment

Growing up on the farm was not all hard work. It was a lot of hard work - but not all work.

My closest buddies were the five Bennett brothers who lived on the farm behind ours. We would meet on Saturdays after our chores and play 3 on 3 football, King of the hay loft, Army and anything else we could think of until well after dark.

To get to their house I had to cut through a couple of our pastures, through some woods, cross Buckeye Run (a stream), then hike through their pasture. Most of the time that could be accomplished in about 20 minutes. If you walked to their house by the road it would take you the better part of an hour.

One Saturday I took off for the Bennett's without knowing that earlier in the week Mr. Bennett had rented a bull and had placed said bull in their pasture with the usual ten or twelve cows.

The Bennett house was in sight when I climbed over the fence into their pasture and started walking toward the farm yard. I saw the guys outside finishing their chores and they started waving at me - I waved back and kept walking. I saw the usual group of harmless cows to the right of me and did not pay much attention until I noticed that one significantly larger "cow" was looking my way.

The bull lowered his head and kicked dust up with his nose - and I suddenly realized why the Bennett boys were still waving at me! I turned and burned back over the fence before the bull got any angrier.

In the corporate world... that's called Strategic Abandonment.

Sometimes you have to recognize that no matter how hard you try, no matter the effort you put into it... the bull is going to get you if you keep going forward.

The key: Act decisively : 1) recognize the situation, 2) get back to a safe position and 3) figure another way to your goal.

Hiking along the fence and out to the road took some additional time and effort - but it was clearly my best course for success.


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